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Memorial to honour Albertans killed at Dieppe

On Aug. 19, 1942, men of the 14th Army Tank Regiment (Calgary Regiment Tank), many recruited from the central and southern Alberta area, took part in a raid on the coast of France centred on the town of Dieppe.

On Aug. 19, 1942, men of the 14th Army Tank Regiment (Calgary Regiment Tank), many recruited from the central and southern Alberta area, took part in a raid on the coast of France centred on the town of Dieppe.

Overall, the raid did not succeed, but many lessons were learned that were applied to the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary next summer, there is a plan to dedicate a new memorial right on the promenade in Dieppe, France, overlooking the beach, in close proximity to where the Calgary regiment tanks landed in 1942.

The focus of this new memorial is to remember the actions of the Calgary regiment, particularly the valiant effort of the tank crews of B and C squadrons, and the regimental headquarters.

The crews of these tanks tried their best under desperate circumstances to move their vehicles back to the beach.

Some were successful, some were shot up by the enemy, and some bogged down on the gravel beach or in anti-tank ditches. In many cases the tank crews fired all of their ammunition at the enemy until they ran out.

In the end, 157 men of the regiment became prisoners, and 13 men were killed in action, including the commanding officer.

Most of these men survived the German prisoner of war (POW) camps, and were released shortly before the end of the war. Their individual stories are unique, and spellbinding to say the least, with many tales of heroism, valour and personal sacrifice.

The centrepiece of this memorial, on the front face, will be a depiction of a well-known photograph, taken after the surrender, that shows a number of Calgary regiment Churchill tanks lined up on the beach where there was an attempt to form the protective “ring of steel” to shield the infantry.

The memorial will contain engraved maple leaves with the names of 13 men from the regiment who were killed in action that day, as well as the number 157 to represent those who became POWs for the duration of the war.

It will complement the existing plaque from the Calgary regiment that is currently displayed at the far end of the beach under the castle.

A dedication ceremony is being planned for Aug. 19, 2017 on the promenade along the beach in Dieppe.

As of the writing of this story, two surviving veterans of the raid are planning to attend, along with family members of other veterans, and members of the current regiment -- the King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC), as well as members of the regimental association. Family members of the Calgary regiment veterans who took part in this raid are most welcome to attend as well.

In addition to the ceremonies in France, plans call for a ceremony in Calgary on Aug. 19 at The Military Museum.

This is a significant event in the history of central and southern Alberta, the Calgary regiment, and the contributions made by Canadian soldiers during the Second World War.

For additional information about the 75th anniversary activities, interested parties, surviving veterans and family members can contact The King's Own Calgary Regiment (50 CEF/14 CTR) Association by mail at this address: The King's Own Calgary Regiment (50 CEF/14CTR) Association c/o 4520 Crowchild Trail S.W., Calgary, Alta., T2T 5J4 or by email at kocalgrassociation@gmail.com.

R.F. (Dick) Cruickshank

Calgary



In the end, 157 men of the regiment became prisoners, and 13 men were killed in action, including the commanding officer.